clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Student Body Wow!

New, 5 comments

Enough of the doom and gloom about Saturday's game, there were some good things that happened in this game. Plaschke had a great column on Sunday looking at the running game.

C.J. Gable cut left, swung right and sprinted through a handful of frozen Idaho defenders for a ribbon-cutting, rip-roaring, 33-yard run.

And promptly came out of the game.

Stafon Johnson dashed around the right corner and into an end zone ringing with 90,000 cheers, a four-yard run for the first USC touchdown of the season.

The next time the Trojans were on the goal line, he was on the bench.

The most breathtaking move by a guy carrying the ball for USC on Saturday night was a full hurdle over a crouched Idaho defender by Stanley Havili.

And he's, like, the fullback.

The ballyhooed USC running back pool -- deep and roiling and a big reason for the Trojans' No. 1 ranking -- spilled on to a field for the first time Saturday in the Trojans' 38-10 victory over Idaho.

The resulting splash left the offense in a new formation.

Student Body Wow.

"All of these running backs doing their thing, we call it dancing," said a smiling Johnson, the Dorsey kid rising to his first big city moment, scoring two touchdowns and averaging 5.3 yards on a dozen carries.

As for the actions of the rest of the Trojans, we call it slogging.

John David Booty was inconsistent, the defense was occasionally inattentive, the play-calling was vanilla and the overall performance was less than impressive, as if everyone was saving themselves for that taller corn of Nebraska.

But, man, those running backs were fun.

So fun that with two of the five listed possible starters on the bench with injuries, they still combined for 219 yards and scored four of the five touchdowns.

So important that, in the first half, the Trojans ran only five plays in which a running back didn't touch the ball.

So promising, the best run of the night was by a guy who, more than dozen paragraphs into this story, I haven't even mentioned yet.

Of course the player he hadn't mentioned yet was Joe McKnight.

For all the nonsense we have heard about our glut at the running back position it was great to actually see some production from all the horses we have in the stable. It was fun to watch even if they were rotating them in and out every few plays. All the talk about not being dominant against Idaho and not hanging half-a-hundred on these guys to me is unimportant for the first game. With all the talk of not having a dominant running back I though seeing Gable, Johnson and McKnight was fun to watch.

Stanley Havili was just awesome and that hurdle move he made over the Idaho defender was ballsy to say the least. McKnight's run had some Reggie Bush type moves and it shows us what he is capable of and what is sure to come. It looked like he was barely moving but he had a lot of range turning a nothing play into a 21-yard gain, that was pretty neat to watch. Havili's solid presence at fullback is what SC was missing last season. His ability to block and make catch's out of the back field opens up the fiel for the running backs to make plays.

From the Daily Trojan:

The personnel at running back was no more experienced than the bunch that started last year, but the man in front of the running backs provided the group with a service they were without in 2006.

Havili, a redshirt freshman, missed the final 10 games of last season to a broken leg. Against Idaho Havili was back in action, solidifying running lanes for USC's running backs.

"[Havili] is really going to be a big time football player for us," coach Pete Carroll said following the game. "You got a little taste of what he can do today."

In addition to paving the way for multiple USC touchdowns, Havili earned one for himself - a three yard reception from quarterback John David Booty early in the third quarter.

His final statline read one carry for 10 yards and five receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown. But as life goes for fullbacks, Havili's contribution is predominantly measured by the performance of the guys running behind him.

If he stays healthy then things will be just fine in the backfield.

Of course we haven't even got everyone on the field yet. Once we get Washington back on the field it should be even more interesting as he is chomping at the bit to get in the game and assume the #1 spot at tailback. Hershel Dennis should return soon as well adding yet another weapon for Pete Carroll to use. Some of us may not have been happy with the general performance on Saturday but the tailbacks were fun to watch.

And just in case you missed it here is McKnight's run...enjoy!